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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Patchwork of My (Future) Life

I sew in the kitchen. The iron cord really does frequent the butter dish. I hang my works in progress on the curtain rods or tack them to the cupboards. From the counter you can see that we like: toast, preferably from vintage toaster; juice from the Champion (beet and carrot, mostly); two different ways to make coffee. Things you can't really see are: the yellow salt cellar filled with sea salt (I like to add it in pinches) and the "coffee grinder," which actually has ground dried chipotles in it — it's like fairy dust for food. Yum!

I showed a sneak peek at this wip here. It was going to be a full circle skirt, but after holding it up I knew I'd never wear it — it's definitely not flattering to my body type.

After a short-lived idea that it might serve as a heavily-varnished floor mat, my mom's suggestion as a table cloth seemed like, duh, of course it's a table cloth.

While sewing I was thinking about our new, possible/probable home down at The Ranch. It's a long story, hopefully to be told in an interesting way, here, in the future. For now, look closely at the patchwork and you'll be able to get clues about it: the palm tree, the car racing, the fruits and veggies, the animals!

I've got about a half circle done. I find it so satisfying looking through the scraps — some vintage, some contemporary; each tells a story. The finished project is definitely more than the sum of its parts. The serger and rotary cutter made it so easy! The kitchen and meals did suffer during construction, though.

Here's a preview of how it will look as a table covering.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Sprinkle of Scraps


Here is a sprinkling of the scraps that I received from the kindly Emily in Linda's Patchwork and Scrap swap. The top three are vintage Japanese kimono fabric. The bottom three are Norwegian, I think. I'm all confused because, for a long time, I was thinking Emily lived in Finland. Ah, mamabrain — it took my vocabulary and my short-term memory. Emily has recently unveiled her wonderful blog, Ravenhill. Go check it out. She has lovely photos.


Thanks for waiting, Emily. My package to you is still sitting in a box by my front door. Bad swapper, no donut. :(

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stripe-y Patchwork Cat

Well, here it goes, my first pattern — and it's free! It is completely untested and hasn't been edited, so any feedback would be great. I'm thinking of it as a group work-in-progress. There are three pages that you'll need to download because I don't have the software to merge it all into one PDF. Two of the pages are pattern pieces, one is instruction.

Thanks to Lisa for combining my pdfs into one neat download.

Stripe-y Cat Pattern Download

This pattern is copyright and the property of Green Kitchen/Michelle Russell. This pattern and project are for home use only, not for resale.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Owl Tea Cozy

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

I'm not sure what the definition of patchwork is. I figure, that in a basic sense, it means: sewing together small pieces of fabric to make a bigger piece of fabric. This owl tea cozy might not technically be a patchwork project, which might be a reason it didn't cut the mustard with the editors. Or, maybe, they didn't like it because it kind of looks like Beau Bridges. ;) Truthfully, it was my least favorite of the three projects I submitted.

I do think, however, that this little owl guy has value as inspiration for patchwork technique. I like the way the wings are made with a variety of unhemmed loosely woven fabrics. They are a sewn stack, much like a shingled roof. It's a no-measure, no-fuss, no-straight-lines-necessary kind of patchwork. It was so fun to do, that I think I'll do more — maybe make a stuffed animal or two out of fringe — perhaps with some inspiration from Abby. Her nest series is so damn good.

Does anyone even say stuffed animal anymore?

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Peek-a-boo Pillow

Peek-a-boo Pillow
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Well, I'm a little sad this pillow, and a couple other ideas, didn't get accepted as projects for a future patchwork book, but I'm a lot happy that I get to post them on my blog sooner, rather than later. I found it totally frustrating to keep the things I made a secret. The Bitter One, on the other hand, is going to have to keep her two projects under wraps.

The details:
Patchwork panel pillow made of thrifted fabrics in a variety of textures (corduroy, felted-tweed, burlap-esque something or other, denim) cut and stitched together in a free form sort of way to mimic the wood railing that the boys are peeking through. I just happened to have a photo of each of my boys playing peek-a-boo, which drove the design direction. I printed the photos on a store-bought ink jet fabric. I should have used some interfacing on the back of the patchwork strip because the stuffing is already pushing one of the seams out. To add to the wood sub-theme I machine-appliqued some faux wood grain with contrasting thread to the denim strips in the patchwork.

Forgot to mention that this was the original inspiration.

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